sealPurdue News

September 19, 2002

Purdue creates its first signature; new identity 'bold'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The words "Purdue University" will begin to take on a new, consistent and universally recognizable look, the university announced today (Thursday, 9/19).

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For the first time in its history, Purdue has adopted a brand identity for its name, said Murray Blackwelder, senior vice president for advancement and chair of a universitywide committee that helped select the image.

"Purdue has bold and definite plans for its future, so its graphic identity needs to be strong and positive, while at the same time reflecting tradition," Blackwelder said. "We achieve that with our new signature logo and developed a system to ensure it can be comprehensively and consistently applied."

Joseph L Bennett, vice president for university relations, said the identity is a unifying symbol for Purdue's many schools, departments and units.

"Our goal is that whenever and wherever you see Purdue's name," Bennett said, "you'll recognize the university's signature through the typeface, colors, placement and graphic design. We will be consistent, whether on signs or banners, publications or stationery, or any of the other places on which the Purdue name appears."

The new signature, meant to be treated as a graphic, uses a slab serif Egyptian 505 typeface and calls for specific proportion and placement, stacking a larger-sized "Purdue" on top of "University" with a rule between them. Elements of the signature will not be used separately or combined with other elements. A minimum amount of white space around the signature is specified so that it will stand free of other visual elements. When possible, the word "Purdue" will appear in black, and the rule and word "University" will appear in gold. Alternatively, gold may be used for the word "Purdue" as well. When neither of these are possible, the university recommends that the letters appear white on a black background.

"The official colors of the university are still old gold and black," said David Brannan, director of the Office of Purdue Marketing Communications. "But because colors appear differently depending on the material on which they are applied, a guide has been created to let people know what color gold should be used with individual surfaces."

Depending on the surface to which it is applied, the old gold recommendations are Pantone Matching System numbers 1245, 132 and 8960 (metallic).

"We also have a color palette for how it's to be used on a Web site, " said James McCammack, Purdue Marketing Communication assistant director for graphic design. "These color applications were chosen for their versatility."

There are no restrictions on the typefaces that may be used in conjunction with the university signature graphic, but recommendations have been made for typefaces to be used with text that is part of the core identity – such as that used on stationery, signage or vehicles – to establish a continuity of appearance.

McCammack said, "For body copy in all university stationery, items such as letterheads and business cards, the serif typeface chosen to complement the Purdue signature is Minion. The sans serif typeface chosen is Frutiger, to be used for the more detailed information on the stationery."

For internal desktop publishing and laser printer applications, Purdue offices may substitute Times or Times New Roman for Minion and Helvetica or Arial for Frutiger.

Purdue also will more closely govern the use of its seal, which features a griffin, a mythical Greek creature that is part eagle and part lion. The seal will be reserved for certain formal and official communications and materials.

The new identity, tested in focus groups of Purdue faculty and staff, alumni, students and others, will debut in various ways in October.

"People will not see an immediate, dramatic change. What they will see is a very specific identity," Bennett said. "If you think of the way you see some other universities – Michigan, Duke, Notre Dame are the ones that come to mind – there's a very consistent representation of their name, and it's pretty distinct. They're recognized by appearance."

Purdue Marketing Communications is responsible for ensuring the correct use and integrity of the signature, seal and mascot logo.

Sources: Murray Blackwelder, (765) 496-2144;

Joseph L. Bennett, (765) 494-2082;

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